Guide Viewers Through 360-Degree Facebook Videos

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You may have seen a couple 360-degree videos in your Facebook News Feed in recent months, and now, the social network is taking these spherical creations to the next level.

Facebook on Wednesday launched two new tools for publishers sharing 360-degree videos: Guide and Heatmap.

As its name suggests, the new Guide feature lets publishers give viewers a guided tour of their 360-degree video as it plays. As a viewer, you'll be able to "enjoy a lean-back experience and never miss a key moment—whether that's a diver plunging into the water or a shark swimming up behind," Facebook said.

A handful of partners like GoPro, The New York Times, and ABC News have created 360-degree experiences to help Facebook launch the new Guide feature. Users can, for instance, get a guided tour as you swim with sharks (via GoPro), follow Usain Bolt's 100m sprint as he breaks the world record (via the Times), and cruise around the New York Harbor and learn more about the city's history (via ABC News).

The Heatmap tool, meanwhile, shows publishers which portions of their 360-degree video people are spending the most time looking at.

"As more and more people immerse themselves in 360 video experiences, we want to help publishers and creators better engage their audiences and learn more about how they respond to their 360 videos," Facebook said.

The social network in September began rolling out 360-degree videos, which let folks scope out a scene from any angle by dragging the video around with their mouse or finger. To date, people have uploaded more than 250,000 360-degree videos to Facebook, the company boasted.

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